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GMAT Grading Scale

The majority of MBA applicants think that the difference between a GMAT score of 680 and 720 is crucial and an important decision influencer. Well, this is not true. Scoring forty points extra on the GMAT Grading Scale is irrelevant for getting admitted into a top school’s MBA program.

This makes that I really don’t understand individuals who have a 680 points score insisting on retaking the GMAT. They probably would be wiser burning all GMAT preparation books and should concentrate on their application essays, the following and a very step in the process of applying for an MBA seat.


The GMAT Scoring Report

The GMAT scoring report contains five parts:

  • The Verbal Scaled Scoring Result (scoring scale 0-60)
  • The Quantitative Scaled Scoring Result (scoring scale 0-60)
  • The Total Scaled Scoring Result (scale 200-800)
  • The AWA (Analytical Writing Assessment) Scoring Result (scale 0-6)
  • The Integrated Reasoning Scoring Result (scale 1-8)

Your total score combines your quantitative and verbal scaled scoring results. So it is reflecting your overall performance level on these multiple-choice parts of the GMAT. The Integrated Reasoning and AWA parts are scored separately and independently and scoring results these parts are not affecting the 200-800 scaled scoring results.

How Long Are GMAT Scores Valid?

GMAT scores are valid for the duration of five (5) years. The scoring results are available for reporting for a period of up to ten (10) years. GMAT score results that are older than ten ( 10) years are not available. GMAT test takers have the option to cancel their scoring results right after testing at no extra cost. GMAT scoring results may also be canceled online at a modest fee, but within no more than 72 hours passed your scheduled exam start time.

The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)

Your AWA (The Analytical Writing Assessment ) essay is getting two scores that are scaled between 0 and 6, and at least one of these scores is given by a human essay reader. The second score on your essay may be coming from an evaluating computer program. In case the two scores (always from two readers) are the same or are differing by no more than one point, these scores are being averaged to get the definitive score for your essay. In case the difference between the two scores is more than just one point, a professional essay reader will determine your definitive score.

More than 90 percent of all applicants get a scaled score that is 3 or above on their AWA, and you will understand that test-takers will not be able to see their AWA results on the day they tested because the AWA grading process is done by human readers.

Applicants who choose to keep their GMAT scores will receive their GMAT score report includes their AWA score some two weeks after they took the test by regular mail. Integrated Reasoning The GMAT section “Integrated Reasoning” has a scoring scale of 1 to 8, and is not computer-adaptive. Students cannot view their scores on this section of the GMAT on their testing day.

Students who chose to keep their GMAT scores are receiving their GMAT score report (including their Integrated Reasoning score) via regular mail around two weeks after they completed the exam.

What is the procedure of GMAT scoring

All GMAT score reports include five scores:

  • AWA Essay Score
  • Integrated Reasoning Score
  • Quantitative Score
  • Verbal Score
  • Total Score (a combination of only the Quantitative Score and the Verbal Scores)

The most widely used GMAT score is the Total Score.

This is also the score typically used by business schools to list their list of GMAT score range for their new MBA (or related degree) class. This is the reason that applicants devote most time during their GMAT preparation on these two sections, the Quantitative section, and the Verbal section

GMAT score reports also include a percentile ranking.

This is an indication of the percentage of applicants that have scores below yours. This indicates that in case percentile ranking is 89, you did better than 89% of all GMAT applicants. This percentile ranking is determined by all scores of all GMAT applicants during the last three years.

As the GMAT is an entirely computer-adaptive exam (apart from the “Integrated Reasoning” section, and includes more difficult questions for those students answering more questions in the right way, the testing scores are not only determined by the number of correct answers, but also by the difficulty level of the questions.

Is it difficult to score 700 in the GMAT?

That depends on your relative knowledge, capabilities, skills, experience, and practice. Fact is that only around ten percent of all applicants score at or above 700 points, but of course, you only can tell if you will fall in that category if you don’t try.
The GMAT measures standard knowledge and some standard skills, and when you study and practice sufficiently, you will very easily be able to discover specific patterns on how GMAT questions are formulated and framed. If you practice enough, you could fairly easily come to a score of 700+ points.

Is the GMAT score expiring?

Your GMAT test result is normally good for five years. Suppose you took the test in September 2011, your test results will be perfectly good until September 2016. This means you will need to submit your application to the business school within five years after the day you started the exam. There are schools, however, that may request more recent documentation if you hold scores which. for example, are between 4 years and 10 months old.

How can you justify a poor GMAT score?

Recently, an applicant to Harvard Business School’s prestigious MBA program was accepted though he had a poor GMAT score that was even under 500. Last year, Stanford accepted an MBA applicant who had a meager 530 GMAT score, and Wharton accepted someone who did not score higher than 560 points on his GMAT.

These GMAT scores are actually the lowest ever reported in the schools’ somewhat vague publications regarding the GMAT, but how can you get into a top-notch MBA program if your GMAT score is (in the case at Harvard Business School) almost 250 points lower than the average GMAT score of 730 that is held by the school’s MBA students?

Well, it all depends on the applicant, say admissions commission officials, some just are exceptionally brilliant, except for their poor GMAT score.
Let’s first put the GMAT score in perspective. A GMAT score of 490 points has a 32nd percentile ranking, whereas the average GMAT percentile ranking is 96 for current Harvard MBA students. A 490 points GMAT score is also well below the average score of 544 points and, not surprisingly, you will find quite a few business schools that would reject the application instantly.

Strangely enough, it may sometimes be a lot easier to become accepted by a top-notch business school than by a not so highly reputed MBA program. This is for the reason that second-tier business schools sometimes are more worried about their rankings that the top schools.

So now we see more and more consultants who recommend taking the GRE if applicants have a poor GMAT score. Some ranking agencies (for example U.S. News) do not take GRE scores in consideration, and accepting applicants with a lower GRE score will not negatively influence a business school’s ranking in such a list.

Anyway, if you have a poor GMAT score, it may be pretty hard to get ahead. The fact is that to get accepted into a top-notch business school while you have a poor GMAT score is not usual practice, and admission has become more difficult than a decade ago for applicants with a poor GMAT score. On the other hand, schools that only look at an applicant’s GMAT score really miss the point.

Fortunately, most schools consider a candidate’s entire profile: academic achievement, leadership capacities, and quality contributions to the MBA class. In the Harvard example (where they accepted a candidate with a GMAT score under 600) all other things about the candidate were incredibly positive: excellent academic achievements, exceptional proven leadership qualities, great community leadership accomplishments, and outstanding letters of recommendation by respected business leaders.

This all made him a more than outstanding candidate despite his poor GMAT score.